Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of La Citta Vita
Hobbit houses, soddies or subterranean-earth dwellings are a type of home brought into mainstream popularity in the 1970's by the hippie movement, though they have been used for centuries. The designation as hobbit homes came from the J.R.R. Tolkien "Lord of the Rings" novels. These homes are usually covered in sod or grass. The homes are built into the Earth and usually have two levels.
Having well-thought-out plans for these homes makes them low-impact and relatively inexpensive to build. Subterranean homes are primarily built at least six feet underground, where the earth begins to maintain a constant temperature of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These homes are typically made of recycled or green materials and usually depend on green energy production for electricity and climate control. The wise builder should do a lot of research before purchasing or deciding on a plan for their hobbit house.
Simon Dale built his family a hobbit-style home in New South Wales for about $5,000. Dale used green building products to build the home, including reclaimed wood, stones and mud. Building plans, as well as links, photographs and other resources can be found on Simon Dale's website. The building plans shown on Dale's site are hand-drawn and not professionally done.
The book "The Earth Sheltered-House" by Malcolm Wells is an investigation of sustainable architecture. Wells has published several books on subterranean homes. Wells, a legend in the field, accumulates building plans as well as drawing diagrams and architectural aesthetics of living in hobbit-style subterranean homes. Wells passed away in November 2009.
The Rocky Mountain Research Center
The Rocky Mountain Research Center offers a selection of materials on this style as well as a variety of other green and underground homes, including more than six plans for homes around 1,680 square feet. The price of these materials range from $4 to $300. The building plans sold on this site are professionally done and are 18 x 24 inches for easy viewing.
UndergroundHousing.com is an online resource for the underground builder of all types of homes, including the hobbit-style home. Featured on the site is a book, "The $50 and up Underground House Book," which inclides building plans and practical building information.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of La Citta Vita